Wrongful death lawsuit filed in crash that killed couple, unborn child

Shawn Blitchington charged with DUI manslaughter in wrong-way collision

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager

BRYCEVILLE, Fla. - The families of a couple who was killed in wrong-way Nassau County crash have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man charged with DUI manslaughter in the collision.

According to his arrest report, Shawn Blitchington, 45, was driving a truck owned by his employer, Pure Air Inc., that crossed lanes of U.S. 301 in Bryceville back in July. He collided with a Honda Civic, and the people inside that car -- Bailey McKnight, 22, Ryan Kennedy, 21, and the couple's child with whom McKnight was eight months pregnant -- died at the scene.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 12, also names Pure Air Inc. as a defendant and seeks in excess of $15,000 in damages.

Blitchington is charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. He’s in jail on a $1.8 million bond.

Because there were three people killed, he faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted of leaving the scene of the deadly crash.

Court records show Blitchington has a history of traffic offense in Northeast Florida over the years. In fact, he was arrested five times for driving under the influence since 2002:

  • He was convicted after pleading no contest to a DUI charge stemming from a February 2002 arrest in Duval County. He received probation.
  • He entered the same plea after his January 2003 arrest for DUI and was sentenced to probation in that case.
  • Charged in December 2004 with DUI in Nassau County, he was convicted after pleading no contest and got probation.
  • He was charged with DUI, driving without a valid license and refusing to submit to a breath test in October 2008 in Nassau County. The DUI was reduced to reckless driving.
  • He was found guilty of DUI after pleading no contest to a November 2011 charge in Nassau County and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.